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5 best meditation apps that will make you calm and stress-free

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Initially, I was skeptical of how meditation apps could actually benefit me. It’s hard for me to sit still sometimes especially if I’m feeling worried, anxious, or overwhelmed.

However, I was willing to try something, really anything, to help reduce my anxiety and improve my sleep.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried different meditation apps with varying degrees of success. Now I’m a die-hard fan and use my meditation apps every single day and night.

Review of the 5 best meditation apps

In this article, you’ll get a review of the 5 best meditation apps with a short description of each one, their features, the pros and cons as well as the cost of the app.

I hope that the honest review of these meditation apps will help you figure out which one may be the best one for you to try.

Remember, you have to practice meditation regularly to see the long-term benefits. I suggest that you try the free version of the app for at least 10 days and then decide if it’s right for you before you pay for a subscription.

Meditation the best exercise for your brain

If you’ve tried to meditate before and have been unsuccessful because you find it hard to sit still, or your mind wanders off, you’re not alone.

Learning to meditate is like exercising a new muscle, it takes practice, patience, and consistency to strengthen this new skill.

A woman smiling while looking at the best meditation apps on her phone

With perseverance, you get better at it, and research has shown that regular meditation practice actually changes the neural pathways in your brain and helps you feel calmer, happier, more focused, and less stressed.

Meditation- your new superpower

In theory, meditation sounds simple enough, right?

You sit down in a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on your breath.

Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds because our mind has a tendency of thinking and it is hard to sit still.

By dedicating time to practicing meditation, you will learn the proper techniques, and begin to reap the benefits.

Over time, meditation will become your new superpower.

What are the benefits of using a meditation app?

The benefits of using meditation apps, especially if you’re a beginner, is that you get guidance and instruction.

In addition, you get to try different styles, techniques, and orientations which will help you figure out which one works best for you.

The other benefits of using a meditation app include targeting specific areas in your life that you need more help with.

A woman sitting on a bench looking at her phone

For example, if you struggle with anxiety, you can listen to a guided meditation for anxiety or if you’re having a hard time falling asleep, you can listen to guided meditations for sleep.

Overall, there are numerous benefits to using meditation apps. The best way to find out how you benefit from meditation is to simply try it.

Best meditation apps for beginners-Meditation Studio

If you’re new to meditation, Meditation Studio is the app for you.

Meditation Studio

Meditation Studio comes with mindfulness techniques and guided meditations for any age group including children. It can improve concentration, increase happiness, reduce anxiety and stress and boost sleep.

You also have access to a diverse selection of over 200 guided meditations featuring different teachers and styles. You can focus on your intention (like stress management) or dive deep into a meditation topic with exclusive collections and courses.

Pros of Meditation Studio

  • Free to get started and you immediately have access to free content i.e. Finding Calm, Just for Vets, SOS and Starter Series.
  • Great courses like Mindful Work and Deepening Your Practice.
  • Deep Sleep guided meditations that have changed my life (and yours too!)
  • Over 40 instructors with different backgrounds and styles. You can also select music for your meditation and highlight your favorites.
  • Build a personalized meditation library with guided meditations from your favorite meditation teachers.
  • Play meditations anytime, anywhere – no internet connection needed after downloading.
  • Track your progress, schedule meditation sessions, and stay focused on your practice with the scheduling tool.

Cons of Meditation Studio

  • Audio only no video.
  • No meditation challenge.
  • Not compatible with Android.

Cost of Meditation Studio

  • Free to get started
  • $7.99 monthly subscription, $17.99 quarterly subscription, and $49.99 yearly subscription.

Best meditation apps for skeptics: 10% Happier

Want to sleep better, be more mindful, improve your relationships, and become just about ten percent happier? This is the app for you.

Ten Percent Happier

Ten Percent Happier is solid on the science behind meditation and the how and why meditation helps you feel better. There are a lot of videos from top scientists and neuropsychologists as well as guided meditations.

I have used Ten Percent Happier for nearly 1 year and I love the app which offers guided meditations, excellent videos, challenges, and even an option to talk to a coach. There’s also a free podcast you can listen to.

If you’re struggling with any aspect of meditation or having some difficulty in your life, you can speak with a coach. This is service is included in your subscription.

Pros of Ten Percent Happier

  • If you’re visual, this is the app for you since video and meditation combos make it fun and straightforward to learn to meditate.
  • Library of 500+ guided meditations on topics ranging from anxiety to parenting to focus, ensuring that you can find exactly the right meditation for the moment.
  • A section on sleep filled with relaxing meditations that make it easy to fall (and stay) asleep.
  • Short stories, wisdom, and inspiration that you can listen to while on the go – for those moments when you’re not feeling like meditation but want some mindfulness.
  • New content released weekly to keep meditation from becoming a chore.
  • Access to a meditation coach for guidance and support.
  • Quick meditations that fit into your busy life—during your commute, lunch break, etc.

Cons of Ten Percent Happier

Cost of Ten Percent Happier

  • $5.99/month or $99/year for a regular subscription

Best meditation apps for minimalists: HeadSpace

If you’re a minimalist and want to keep things simple, then HeadSpace is your meditation app.

HeadSpace

This popular app even has its own Netflix Show. I have watched it and highly recommend it.

Using this app you will learn the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in a few minutes a day by using their app.

In addition, you can also choose from hundreds of guided meditations on everything from stress management and anxiety management to sleep, personal growth, and mind-body health.

Pros of HeadSpace

  • Very cute animations that make you smile.
  • Free Basics Course is the best instructional course for beginners and teaches you the essentials.
  • Courses to help you deal with stress and anxiety, relax your mind, and more.
  • Move Mode offers mood-boosting, at-home video workouts led by Olympian trainers Kim Glass and Leon Taylor.
  • The Wake Up is a daily video series designed to brighten your day with inspiring stories, mindful advice from experts, and animations to make you smile.
  • Sleep stories, music, and wind downs help create the ideal conditions for calm and restful sleep.

Cons of HeadSpace

  • Limited free meditations
  • Only two meditation instructors
  • Expensive subscription

Cost of HeadSpace

  • Free to download
  • $12.99/month or $94.99/year for a regular subscription
  • $399.99 for a Lifetime subscription

Best meditation apps for tech lovers: Calm

If you love technology and a clean interface then Calm is the best app for you. There’s a large library of guided meditations to help lower stress, have less anxiety, and more restful sleep.

This app is oftentimes recommended by psychologists, therapists, and mental health experts.

Pros of Calm

  • Perfect for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced meditators.
  • 100+ Sleep Stories: bedtime stories guaranteed to lull you to sleep (my favorite is by Matthew McConaughey).
  • Life-changing Calm Masterclasses taught by world-renowned experts.
  • Breathing exercises to help you relax.
  • Music designed to help you focus, relax or sleep.
  • 30+ soothing nature sounds and scenes to use during meditation, yoga, or to help you sleep.

Cons of Calm

  • Drains your battery.
  • Expensive subscription
  • Limited free meditations

Cost of Calm

  • Free to download
  • $12.99/month or $59.99/year for a Regular subscription
  • $299.99 for a Lifetime subscription

Best meditation apps for free: Insight Timer

If money is tight or you just don’t want to pay for a subscription, Insight Timer is the perfect choice for you with over 75,000+ free guided meditations and talks from top meditation and mindfulness experts.

Insight Timer

Insight Timer helps to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, and sleep deeply.

Pros of Insight Timer

  • Over 75,000+ free guided meditations.
  • Take a course to improve your relationship with rest and sleep.
  • Short meditations when on the go, helping you to build a simple daily habit.
  • Thousands of music tracks and ambient sounds to calm the mind, focus, sleep better, and relax.
  • Customizable meditation Timer through Equanimity and Bodhi Timer.
  • Follow your favorite teachers.
  • Join a discussion group for beginners meditation, sleep meditation, poetry, and more.
  • Track your progress via stats and milestones.

Cons of Insight Timer

  • If you don’t value music or voice guidance, this app is likely to be overkill for you.

Cost of Insight Timer

  • Free to download
  • $2.99/month for Offline Mode

Is it worth it to pay for meditation apps?

Here is my short answer:

Yes!

I have a paid subscription for Ten Percent Happier and Meditation Studio. I love the features they both offer and I use both of them daily.

If you’re unsure about a paid subscription for a meditation app, ask yourself this: How much am I willing to pay to have clarity, peace of mind, feel calm, and have a good night’s sleep?

Pantea Rahimian, LCSW

The result of a daily meditation practice is priceless.

If you set aside approximately 0.30 cents/day then it covers the cost of your annual subscription.

In addition, you are far more likely to use the app if you have paid for it since psychologically we don’t like to waste our money on things we don’t use.

Wrap-up

If you’re new to meditation or experienced and want to try something new, meditation apps are a great investment.

There are many meditation apps out there and you have to find the right one for you. These 5 meditation apps have been effective in helping me manage my stress and anxiety as well as improving my sleep.

Do you have a meditation app that you use reguarly? Do you think it’s worth paying for a subscription for a meditation app? How is meditation your superpower? Please share your comments below.

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